Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Profession: Builder, Food Distributor
AZK: What have you been doing in the excavation and how did you get here?
GW: Digging holes in the ground, moving buckets of earth! This is my first dig. Two years ago I was talking to Ronnie McCracken about his Ramat Rachel excavation experience. He said he was going again now, wanna come? I said I’d love to, and here I am.
AZK: How would you define your experience?
GW: Exhilarating. Hard work, well worth it. It supports Israel, Jews, and involves the bible and history. I looked up all the scriptures before I came.
AZK: What do feel when you are attaching the earth and moving out the layers you do so well?
GW: I feel association with Israel. Digging for history. That is the key. Exciting. If my wife lets me out, I’ll be here again. I was lucky to be in on the very start of this. It will progress and everyone will see it; I want to see the progress too. It’s a shame I am only here for 2 weeks.
AZK: What have you found?
GW: Well, we’re seeing a wall appear, it seems the first stones on the top. It is built with the slope, a support wall (currently, week 4, we associate it with the fortress excavated on the top of the hill by Bliss and Macalister). Tomorrow I will move to the next square over to see if I can find the continuation of that wall. There’s a mud brick wall on one side, and a stone wall. Now, today’s pottery came up totally different than before; a thinner finer pottery. I dug only 10 cm. down today and it is a complete change of pottery.
AZK: As a builder do you have a different view in any way?
GW: When I approach how to dig my experience stands me in good stead. Keep it level, that’s the easiest route to dig. Fill in the buckets. pull ’em and stand ’em up, expend the least energy. Tracking the difference in soil levels- I’m used to doing that – filling in land before foundations; making marker posts.
AZK: Have you been here before?
GW: This is my third time to Israel. It is well worth coming. The first time I came, I had a fantastic feeling when being in the land, in the bible. You can begin walking in areas where Jesus walked.- albeit a lot higher than that historical level….
AZK: What are your thoughts about the experience of excavating at Tel Azekah with this group?
I am sorry to leave and go home. It would be nice to stay longer but I miss the family. I belong to Tongham Christian Fellowship, .a non denominational church started 15 years ago; now with 80 people. I plan to encourage the teenagers of our church to come out – it will do them a lot of good.
I enjoy hearing the bible from Jewish perspective. We have a debt to Jews for keeping the bible intact for us. Those who bless the Jews get blessed, those who curse get cursed. Rome lost its empire, for example.
It is a very precious time to be here.